February 4th, 2017

Random Rainbow Earth

11 - how do you turn 1250 refugees into thousands of illegal immigrants? Just add Trump

To start with I have to say that I think our treatment of asylum seekers is absolutely abhorrent and a human rights violation. I don't understand why we pledged to take refugees from Costa Rica but won't resettle the refugees we already have.

Having said that....

There has been a groundswell of dislike among ordinary Australians for the US dating back to the second world war, based on the behaviour of US troops stationed in Brisbane and Darwin (overpaid, oversexed and over here!) In those austere times, there was a perception that the US soldiers were the only ones who could afford the black market nylons and chocolates for the women they wooed, much to the disgust of the Aussie blokes doing it tough within the rules. Not surprisingly in the last couple of days that dislike has swelled. There's a campaign to boycott US-made goods and services - buying Samsung instead of Apple or Google, cancelling Netflix and Uber accounts, and revising travel plans are just some of the activities promoted.

However our governments have long had a close relationship. General Macarthur was stationed in Brisbane during his Pacific campaign - in a building which now bears his name, and perhaps fittingly is now an Apple store. Australian troops have fought alongside the US in Korea, Vietnam, both Gulf wars, Afghanistan and Iraq.

There are US troops still stationed in Darwin, and Alice Springs, while the Pine Gap facility on Australian soil is US-owned. We allow US warships into our harbours, even the nuclear powered ones, unlike our much more sensible neighbours New Zealand who told the US years ago to ship anchor and be gone.

And now Bannon is saying there'll be war in the South China Sea before too long, maybe in the next five years. I'm wondering how many countries would bother sending troops this time, especially as China is a significant trading partner for a lot of the USA's previous allies. Australia? Not if it's up to the ordinary citizens, and quite possibly not if we have a change of government in the meantime anyway, as it was a Labor government who pulled us out of the Vietnamese fiasco. Mexico? After Trump threatened to send US troops into their country to clean up their "bad hombres"? I do hope someone on his team has told him that sending troops uninvited into a foreign country is usually seen as an act of war.

Canada and Germany are feeling less than friendly towards the US at the moment. Perhaps it will be New Zealand who sends troops to help, although as I mentioned before they're a sensible lot over the ditch. Or perhaps the hawks and their fools will be removed from government before they can do irreparable damage to diplomatic relations around the world.